The Communiqué on the Standards for Wholesale and Retail Trade of Fruits and Vegetables" published in the Turkish Official Gazette on October 3, 2017 with the order of the Ministry of Customs and Trade has become effective. According to this new regulation which sets standards for wholesale and retail trade of fruits and vegetables, transportation of fruits and vegetables without packaging will not be allowed starting from the beginning of 2018.
The long standing questions which were left unanswered about packaging of fruits and vegetables during transport were finally answered. The Communiqué on the Standards for Wholesale and Retail Trade of Fruits and Vegetables" published in the Turkish Official Gazette on October 3, 2017 with the order of the Ministry of Customs and Trade regulates many aspects of transportation, storage and packaging of fruits and vegetables.
Pursuant to the communiqué, disposable or reusable packaging will be used for the transportation of fruits and vegetables; it will be ensure that fruits and vegetables are free of any foreign substances during transportation and storage. Additionally, cold chain packaging will be used to transport fruits and vegetables. It was previously stated that there was an annual loss of Turkish Liras 15 - 20 billion before products reach to consumers due to the reason that no packaging was used for fruits and vegetables.
Ms. Aslıhan Arıkan, General Secretary of the Turkish Packaging Manufacturers Association (ASD) told that they had been waiting this regulation about packaging of fruits and vegetables for a long time and added, "the plan is to place the harvest in bags, plastic crates or cardboard/corrugated cardboard boxes or in similar boxes (transportation packaging) and transport fruits and vegetables in such packaging to towns, cities etc. This packaging has been manufactured and used for many years in the industry. This communiqué will help to reduce waste and loss and contribute significantly to the economy."
- This new communiqué was issued to prevent loss and waste during transportation of fruits and vegetables to the retail points and storage.
- Pursuant to the communiqué, fruits and vegetables may only be transported in bags, plastic crates and cardboard/corrugated cardboard boxes and similar boxes that meet the defined standards.
- Disposable or reusable packaging that meets the applicable standards will be used during transport.
- Use of Disposable packaging categorized as wooden, cardboard or cardboard based will become mandatory as of June 1, 2018.
- Use of Reusable packaging in the form of crate, box and basket made of plastic materials will become mandatory as of January 1, 2019.
- Reusable packaging will be disinfected according to the food safety standards.
- Most fresh fruits and vegetables will be transported in cold chain vehicles (refrigerated vehicles) to prevent loss and waste during transport.
- Cold chain transportation is not required for pumpkins, cabbages, water melons, melons, potatoes, onions (dry), and sweet potatoes.
- Small scale manufacturers were also considered when preparing the communiqué. If small scale manufacturers sell/offer their products directly to consumers in a retail market, no packaging is required.
- The communiqué also stipulates that fresh fruits and vegetables are stored in cold storage warehouses or in places where humidity and temperature is regulated to prevent loss of quality and waste.
- Shopping centers, supermarkets and chain markets will sell fruits and vegetables in their original packaging in refrigerated areas.